Dongrias Oppose Proposed Eco-Tourist Cottages In Niyamgiri Hills

Rayagada: Dongria Kondhs have strongly opposed the Forest Department’s move to construct eco-tourist cottages for the promotion of Dongria culture and development of tourism near Niyamgiri hills.

The Dongrias hailing from 27 villages of Niyamgiri hills gathered in large numbers at Adisakani in Kurli panchayat under Bissam Cuttack block of Rayagada district today, the spot where the Forest Department has proposed to construct eco-tourist cottages.

Opposing the Forest Department’s move, Dongrias claimed that the land which has been provided to the Forest Department by Odisha PVTG Empowerment & Livelihoods Improvement Programme (OPELIP) for the project was their farmland.

“A meeting was organised at Adisakani village. Our Huika, Pusika, Kadraka, Jakeska and Misika brothers took part in today’s meeting. OPELIP has handed over a piece of land belonging to Pusika clan to the Forest Department for construction of eco-tourist cottages,” said Jitu Jaksika, a member of the Dongria community.

Jaksika said that the land belongs to their clan and it was their ancestral land.

He claimed that locals have opposed it and added that there was no need of eco-tourism in this area.

“Our people don’t have land to construct houses. We won’t allow construction of tourist building under any circumstances even at the cost of our lives,” Jakasika stated.

Leaders of the Dongria Kondh community said that under no circumstances will they allow construction of eco-tourist cottages on their farmland.

“The OPELIP and Forest Department people had come to demolish our houses. We didn’t allow them to do that. Under no circumstances are we going to part with our land,” said Latak Pusika, a community leader of the Dongrias.
“We have decided not to part with our land,” said another community leader Kadraka Nia.

Jitu Jaksika, Member, Dongria community

Latak Pusika, Member, Dongria community

Kadraka Nia, Member, Dongria community